By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Patient readers, I couldn’t do anything more than the usual charts for Covid today, so you will have to wait for your ration of horrid news tomorrow, because I must move on to another task. –lambert
Bird Song of the Day
Dusky Lark, Zambia. “Song in display flight.”
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” –Hunter Thompson
“What We May Never Know About Jan. 6” (podcast) [Deconstructed]. The Intercept’s podcast, but curiously devoid of energy. Lots of interesting nuggets, making it worth a listen. For example, I didn’t know that there’s evidence of the rioters actually reacting to Trump’s tweets during the riot in real time (apparently, that’s why they went home). Of course, there wasn’t a Tweet that said “Now go to the Senate Podium and read the Martial Law Declaration while we arrange to broadcast it,” so we got the dude with the buffalo horn hat instead. Nevertheless.
“Secret Service Must Come Clean on Missing Texts” [Bloomberg]. “The apparent problem was that the service had reset its mobile phones as part of a long-planned switch to a new software-management application. Although it had told agents to back up any work-related text messages, many of them failed to do so. The migration went ahead, the phones were wiped, and potentially crucial evidence was destroyed. What can you do? To put it mildly, this was a rather unusual process. Whether at a government agency or a private company, retention of such records normally happens automatically. A systemwide backup would be conducted before any migration. Existing messages would be routinely preserved. Under no circumstances would individual employees get to pick and choose what data to preserve while an investigation is underway.” • Again, my speculation is that the Secret Service’s intent in planning the changeover was to bury yet another prostitution scandal. Of course, it’s possible to kill two birds with one stone, especially for oppportunists.
“Trump’s credibility shredded; Secret Service purge imperative” [The Hill]. “Despite batting near zero in court, Trump and his misfits continued the claims of fraud as he set in motion what the committee’s vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), described as a sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the election. During the earlier hearings, the committee revealed evidence and testimony of six of the seven schemes. Thursday’s hearing revealed the final one — that Trump ignored multiple pleas to stop the violence.” • And the endpoint of the “schemes” was…. this:
(I mean, an endpoint other than Ashli Babbit’s, who got whacked by a cop.)
“The Purpose Of Sharing Your January 6 Trauma” [The American Conservative]. • See Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning.
“Laws targeting free speech about abortion would put journalists in the line of fire” [Prism]. “What does it mean for a website to “encourage” abortion? New anti-abortion model legislation released last week by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) would force anyone who publishes work online to grapple with that question, putting journalists who cover abortion squarely into legal crosshairs. The model legislation—which NRLC hopes will be adopted by state legislatures around the country—would subject people to criminal and civil penalties for ‘aiding or abetting’ an abortion, including ‘hosting or maintaining a website, or providing internet service, that encourages or facilitates efforts to obtain an illegal abortion.’ Unsurprisingly, the text offers no guidance on how broadly or narrowly the provision might be interpreted.” • Sounds rather like the Fugitive Slave Law, which enjoined Northerners in non-slave owning states who abhorred slavery to nevertheless return escaped slaves to their putative owners.
“Biden goes silent after SCOTUS gives him power to nix Trump immigration policy” [Politico]. “Last month, the Supreme Court cleared the way for the Biden administration to unwind a Trump-era policy that has forced thousands of asylum seekers to wait in Mexico, often in dangerous settings, for their U.S. court proceedings. But having previously moved quickly to end the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, the administration has suddenly decided to take its time. The White House and Department of Homeland Security have been mum on their plans following the Supreme Court’s ruling. Immigration advocates asking about next steps have been met with a similar silence. In that void, a question has emerged: What, exactly, is the hold up?” • I can’t imagine!
* * *
KY: Sadly, there’s only one Geoff Young:
Don't forget the fraud committed against @MatthewPHoh for US Senate in North Carolina.
3 totally corrupt Democrats on the state Board of Elections. He's suing them and I hope he wins very fast. Corrupt Dems are destroying the party.https://t.co/8rGw1PcSLVhttps://t.co/M70srzdSQE https://t.co/4MWMphQ4o0
— Geoffrey M. Young (@GeoffYoung4KY) July 22, 2022
TX: “After Recent Turmoil, the Race for Texas Governor Is Tightening” [New York Times]. “One of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. The revival of a 1920s ban on abortion. The country’s worst episode of migrant death in recent memory. And an electrical grid, which failed during bitter cold, now straining under soaring heat. The unrelenting succession of death and difficulty facing Texans over the last two months has soured them on the direction of the state, hurting Gov. Greg Abbott and making the race for governor perhaps the most competitive since Democrats last held that office in the 1990s. Polls have shown a tightening, single-digit contest between Mr. Abbott, the two-term incumbent, and his ubiquitous Democratic challenger, the former congressman Beto O’Rourke. Mr. O’Rourke is now raising more campaign cash than Mr. Abbott — $27.6 million to $24.9 million in the last filing — in a race that is likely to be among the most expensive of 2022. Suddenly, improbably, perhaps unwisely, Texas Democrats are again daring to think — as they have in many recent election years — that maybe this could be the year.” • Seems like the power grid is Abbott’s obvious weak point? Especially since Texas has its very own grid?
“Trump and Pence squared off in the desert. It was one-sided.” [Politico]. ” It was billed as a split screen proxy war in the desert: Donald Trump versus Mike Pence in a midterm election skirmish that would provide an early indication about the future of the GOP…. In the run-up to Trump’s rally with Lake, Stan Barnes, a former state lawmaker and longtime Republican consultant, described the Trump and Pence appearances in Arizona as ‘like some sort of celestial planet lineup that you witness every millennium … That’s what it feels like on the ground in Arizona.’ What was happening, he added, was a slow-motion, real-time ‘tearing of the fabric in the Republican Party that’s there for us to see. We have Donald Trump doing his thing with his candidate … The voters in the Republican Party in Arizona may not be aware of this yet, but they’re not just choosing a candidate to represent the party in the general election. They’re choosing the actual direction of the party.’… Pence was, indeed, there — having come to the state to support Karrin Taylor Robson, who is running for the Republican nomination for governor against the Trump-endorsed Kari Lake, who still insists, falsely, that Trump won the election in 2020…. Robson, the wealthy real estate developer and former member of the state’s board of regents, has refused to say that the 2020 election was stolen. But in a nod to Trump, she has said she doesn’t think the election was fair. She has drawn closer to Lake, the early frontrunner in the primary, not by criticizing her for falsehoods about the 2020 election — a centerpiece of Lake’s campaign — but by depicting her as an inauthentic conservative.”
“A radical plan for Trump’s second term” [Axios]. “The heart of the plan is derived from an executive order known as ‘Schedule F,’ developed and refined in secret over most of the second half of Trump’s term and launched 13 days before the 2020 election…. As Trump publicly flirts with a 2024 comeback campaign, this planning is quietly flourishing from Mar-a-Lago to Washington — with his blessing but without the knowledge of some people in his orbit. Trump remains distracted [or not, right?] by his obsession with contesting the 2020 election results. But he has endorsed the work of several groups to prime an administration-in-waiting. Personnel and action plans would be executed in the first 100 days of a second term starting on Jan. 20, 2025. New presidents typically get to replace more than 4,000 so-called ‘political’ appointees to oversee the running of their administrations. But below this rotating layer of political appointees sits a mass of government workers who enjoy strong employment protections — and typically continue their service from one administration to the next, regardless of the president’s party affiliation. An initial estimate by the Trump official who came up with Schedule F found it could apply to as many as 50,000 federal workers — a fraction of a workforce of more than 2 million, but a segment with a profound role in shaping American life. Trump, in theory, could fire tens of thousands of career government officials with no recourse for appeals. He could replace them with people he believes are more loyal to him and to his ‘America First’ agenda. Even if Trump did not deploy Schedule F to this extent, the very fact that such power exists could create a significant chilling effect on government employees. It would effectively upend the modern civil service, triggering a shock wave across the bureaucracy. The next president might then move to gut those pro-Trump ranks — and face the question of whether to replace them with her or his own loyalists, or revert to a traditional bureaucracy.” • One might wonder how many of those “civil servants” would be in the national security apparatus that crippled Trump’s first term. My guess is very few.
“Newsom Raises His Profile With Hardball Tactics, Starting With a Gun Bill” [New York Times]. “While Mr. Newsom has repeatedly insisted that he has no intention of running for the White House in 2024, his actions at times seem to belie his statements. The [anti-DeSantis] Florida ad — a $105,000 spot worth more in free publicity — turned heads in national political circles. So did his visit to Washington this month and his declarations this spring that fellow Democrats were too meekly responding to Republican moves. ‘I think he realizes that [liberal] Democrats are hungry for a hero [because they’re authoritarian followwers,’ said Kim Nalder, a political science professor at California State University, Sacramento. ‘He’s building a profile as an alternative on the left to this aggressive policymaking we’ve seen by Republicans in recent years.'” • A fully paid-up member of the California oligarchy on “the left” [bangs head on desk].
“Democrats’ 2024 chances start with primary reform” [Michael Bloomberg, The Hill]. “During my 2020 presidential campaign, I spoke about the need for reform. After all, it makes no sense to incentivize candidates to spend their time and money in places that were unlikely to dictate the outcome of the general election.” Like, ya know, South Carolina, which gave us Biden, Clinton, and Obama. More: “it was Democrats and independents in cities such as Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Phoenix who played a central role in the general election. Organizing the primary calendar around them would give our party a better chance of winning again in 2024 and beyond…. Many states are jockeying to replace Iowa as an early state, and the party committee will make its selection in August. My hope is that it doesn’t settle for a single switch and otherwise leave the status quo untouched. The party’s best hope for success lies in creating a primary calendar that reflects the importance of cities, diversity, open balloting and swing states.” • Not such a bad idea, actually. While we’re at it, let’s give the Presidential debates back to the League of Women Voters.
“Permanent Pandemic” [Harpers]. “Under the new regime, a significant portion of the decisions that, until recently, would have been considered subject to democratic procedure have instead been turned over to experts, or purported experts, who rely for the implementation of their decisions on private companies, particularly tech and pharmaceutical companies, which, in needing to turn profits for shareholders, have their own reasons for hoping that whatever crisis they have been given the task of managing does not end. Once again, in an important sense, much of this is not new: it’s just capitalism doing its thing. What has seemed unprecedented is the eagerness with which self-styled progressives have rushed to the support of the new regime, and have sought to marginalize dissenting voices as belonging to fringe conspiracy theorists and unscrupulous reactionaries. Meanwhile, those pockets of resistance—places where we find at least some inchoate commitment to the principle of popular will as a counterbalance to elite expertise, and where unease about technological overreach may be honestly expressed—are often also, as progressives have rightly but superciliously noted, hot spots of bonkers conspiracism. This may be as much a consequence of their marginalization as a reason for it. What ‘cannot’ be said will still be said, but it will be said by the sort of person prepared to convey in speaking not just the content of an idea, but the disregard for the social costs of coming across as an outsider. And so . Meanwhile we are being tracked, by chips in our phones if not in our shoulders, and Fauci’s long record of mistakes should invite any lucid thinker to question his suitability for the role of supreme authority in matters of health.” • This is a good description of what I mean by the “Republican Funhouse”; reality is there, but distorted as in a funhouse mirror. (Fauci is a lizard only metaphorically. And frankly, if the future New Confederacy decides that biometric markers and digital currency were the Mark of the Beast, and outlawed them, I’d have to give emigration some serious thought, cray cray though the logic would be.)
Democrats en Déshabillé
I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:
The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). ; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. . (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.
Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.
* * *
Realignment and Legitimacy
“Anti-Social Conservatives” [Gawker]. Of all places. “The belief that society doesn’t exist, or shouldn’t, is a rejection of neighborliness and trust, a democratic civic culture, and the possibility of encountering those unlike yourself on equal ground….. The conservative assault on society can also be seen in their attempt to turn our public spaces into zones of armed conflict — extending the privileges of defending your home or property to, well, almost anywhere. An armed society is not a polite society, as the trite bumper sticker asserts, but something closer to the state of nature, the war of all against all… But if society can be attacked and weakened, it also can be supported and strengthened. Democrats, at least in the past, knew how to do the latter. One of the most striking emphases of historian Eric Rauchway’s excellent recent book, Why the New Deal Matters, is that Franklin Roosevelt and his administration understood that despair could be countered and democracy fortified by a kind of social infrastructure. So they built public libraries at time when, as Rauchway observes, Nazis were burning and banning books. They built theaters and public pools and commissioned murals to beautify public spaces. My favorite detail from Rauchway’s book is how many sidewalks the New Deal helped build: throughout the 1930s and into the 1940s, workers hired by the Work Projects Administration laid about twenty-four thousand miles of new sidewalks and improved another seven thousand more. Some of this, certainly, was meant to give people jobs during the Great Depression. But they were also public goods that brought people together, and were ways of making communities easier to feel a part of and entertainment and culture enjoyable for more than the rich. It is no accident that, in the wake of such efforts, the rightwing in America was, if all too briefly, pushed to margins of our political life.” • Oh well. And on Maggie Thatcher, see here.
“Peter Thiel on the dangers of progress” (interview) [Unherd]. “[Thiel] doesn’t see restoring middle-class aspiration as a matter of returning to the past, but of seeking new real-world advances in science and technology. Along with Thiel’s own investments, which include many futuristic projects such as biotech and space exploration, the principal vehicle for his efforts to drive this change is the nonprofit Thiel Foundation, which promotes science and innovation. Its programmes include the Thiel Fellowship, which gives 20-30 young people aged 22 or under $100,000 each, every year, to drop out of college and work on an urgent idea. Graduates include Austin Russell, who founded Luminar and is the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, and Vitalik Buterin, who co-founded the cryptocurrency Ethereum.” Oh. Crypto. Gee, thanks. Interesting interview, though. Less cray cray in zeritgeist-level diagnosis than I expected, way more cray on cure: “Failing other options, Thiel thinks even bleak or apocalyptic visions are better than no vision at all. The picture of European climate catastrophe associated with Greta Thunberg is, as he sees it, one of only three realistic European futures; the other two are ‘Islamic sharia law’, and ‘Chinese Communist AI’. He views the social-democratic models typical of contemporary European politics as variations on the theme of stagnation: ‘a sort of eternal Groundhog Day’. And while Greta’s vision is ‘in some ways too apocalyptic, in some ways not apocalyptic enough’, it is at least ‘a very concrete picture’, and represents the least worst of the three alternatives to stagnation.” • Thiel sounds rather like an Italian Futurist. Dynamism!
I’m really surprised that Rochelle Walensky hasn’t won the Sociopath of the Day Award; perhaps there were just too many opportunities to pick just one. Anyhow, I had to get up from my machine and walk around a little after I read this transcript:
Let the bafflegab begin:
DR. WALENSKY: Yeah, I think we can all agree that the president’s protocols likely go above and beyond and have the resources to go above and beyond what every American is able and has the capacity to do. …..
So we should never put forward guidance that 100% of the population can follow? We should never try to elevate our game? We should never give people the effing resources so that they could follow best practice guidance instead of the lowest common denominator? We should never engineer scientific communication to encourage, as it were, a good standard? I can certainly understand why the molasses-brained, flaccid, and democidal administration hired Walensky.
….and that is Americans that live in urban jurisdictions and rural jurisdictions, that have resources and less resources, that have, you know, work constraints and many other things. So, when we put forward our guidance, we do so so that they reflect such that every American is able to follow them. We have said in our isolation guidance–that is guidance after you have been infected–that you really should stay home for those first five days. You shouldn’t consider going out after those five days unless your symptoms have really fully resolved. And if they have, you should wear a mask if you decide to go out for those second five days.
I’m not even going to go into why Walensky’s five day “guidance” [goes in search of bucket].
If you missed it, here’s a post on my queasiness with CDC numbers, especially case count, which I (still) consider most important, despite what Walensky’s psychos at CDC who invented “community levels” think. But these are the numbers we have.
Case count for the United States:
The train is still rolling. There was a weird, plateau-like “fiddling and diddling” stage before the Omicron explosion, too. This conjuncture feels the same. Under the hood the BA.4/BA.5 are making up a greater and greater proportion of cases. Remember that cases are undercounted, one source saying by a factor of six, Gottlieb thinking we only pick up one in seven or eight.) Hence, I take the case count and multiply it by six to approximate the real level of cases, and draw the DNC-blue “Biden Line” at that point. The previous count was ~123,300. Today, it’s ~122,150 and 122,150 * 6 = a Biden line at 732,900 per day. That’s rather a lot of cases per day, when you think about it. At least we have confirmation that the extraordinary mass of case anecdotes we’ve seen have a basis in reality. (Remember these data points are weekly averages, so daily fluctuations are smoothed out.) The black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, since it compares current levels to past crises.
Regional case count for four weeks:
NOT UPDATED From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, July 19:
1.1%. Up. (I wonder if there’s a Keynesian Beauty Contest effect, here; that is, if people encounter a sympotomatic person, whether in their social circle or in normal activity, they are more likely to get a test, because they believe, correctly, that it’s more likely they will be infected.) What we are seeing here is the steepest and largest acceleration of positivity on Walgreen’s chart.
NOTE: I shall most certainly not be using the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric. Because CDC has combined a leading indicator (cases) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning sign of a surge, and a poor way to assess personal risk. In addition, Covid is a disease you don’t want to get. Even if you are not hospitalized, you can suffer from Long Covid, vascular issues, and neurological issues. For these reasons, case counts — known to be underestimated, due to home test kits — deserve to stand alone as a number to be tracked, no matter how much the political operatives in CDC leadership would like to obfuscate it. That the “green map” (which Topol calls a “capitulation” and a “deception”) is still up and being taken seriously verges on the criminal. Use the community transmission immediately below.
Status quo, i.e. it’s a totally not-over pandemic.
Lambert here: After the move from the CDC to the laughingly named ‘https://healthdata.gov,” this notice appeared: “Effective June 22, 2022, the Community Profile Report will only be updated twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays.” So now the administration has belatedly come to the realization that we’re in a BA.5 surge, and yet essential data for making our personal risk assessment is only available twice a week. What’s the over/under on whether they actually deliver tomorrow?
NOT UPDATED Rapid Riser data, by county (CDC), July 21:
Status quo for counties but more yellow than red.
Previous Rapid Riser data:
NOT UPDATED Hospitalization data, by state (CDC), July 21:
Lots of yellow. Haven’t seen so little green (good) in quite some time.
Lambert here: It’s beyond frustrating how slow the variant data is. I looked for more charts: California doesn’t to a BA.4/BA.5 breakdown. New York does but it, too, is on a molasses-like two-week cycle. Does nobody in the public health establishment get a promotion for tracking variants? Are there no grants? Is there a single lab that does this work, and everybody gets the results from them? Additional sources from readers welcome [grinds teeth, bangs head on desk].
NOT UPDATED Variant data, national (Walgreens), July 10:
Variant data, national (CDC), July 9 (Nowcast off):
BA.5 moving along nicely.
Wastewater data (CDC), Jul 22:
I found this chart hard to read, so I filtered the output to the highest levels (somewhat like Rapid Riser Counties, see on here). What’s visible is that a lot of cities are in trouble; but that coverage is really patchy. Illinois, for example, has always had a lot of coverage, but the dots stop at the Illinois border. This chart works a bit like rapid riser counties: “This metric shows whether SARS-CoV-2 levels at a site are currently higher or lower than past historical levels at the same site. 0% means levels are the lowest they have been at the site; 100% means levels are the highest they have been at the site.” So, there’s a bunch of red dots on the West Coast. That’s 100%, so that means “levels are the highest they’ve ever been.” Not broken down by variant, CDC, good job.
Death rate (Our World in Data):
1,051,996. I have added an anti-triumphalist Fauci Line. It’s nice that for deaths I have a nice, simple, daily chart that just keeps chugging along, unlike everything else CDC and the White House are screwing up or letting go dark, good job.
Manufacturing: “United States Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Richmond Fed composite manufacturing index remained flat in July, recovering from a revised -9 in June. Shipments and new order volume indexes increased to 7 and -10 from -17 and -20 in June, respectively, while the employment index dropped to 8 from 16 in the previous month. In the meantime, firms expected an improvement in the next six months and expected wages to remain elevated.”
Housing: “United States Case Shiller Home Price Index YoY” [Trading Economics]. “The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index in the US increased 20.5% yoy in May of 2022, slowing from a record jump of 21.2% in April and below forecasts of 20.6%.” • Yikes!
Housing: “United States House Price Index YoY” [Trading Economics]. “The average prices of single-family houses with mortgages guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the United States increased 18.3 percent from a year earlier in May 2022, following an upwardly revised 18.9 percent gain in April.” • Yikes!
What else annoys me? First quarter GDP is basically Target effed up its inventory management, and supply chains are working out in fits and starts. We do not have a lump of GDP, and I do not have enough hours in the day to explain this. https://t.co/JKDg7tLKjN
— Claudia Sahm (@Claudia_Sahm) July 26, 2022
Not just Target; Walmart, if what the workers are seeing in the back rooms are any guide.
The Bezzle: “Why none of my books are available on Audible” [Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic]. “Under DMCA 1201, it is a felony to “traffick” in tools that bypass DRM. Doing so can land you in prison for five years and hit you with a fine of up to $500,000 (for a first offense). This clause is so broadly written that merely passing on factual information about bugs in a system with DRM can put you in hot water. Here’s where we get to the existential risk to all computer users part. As a technology, DRM has to run as code that is beyond your observation and control. If there’s a program running on your computer or phone called “DRM” you can delete it, or go into your process manager and force-quit it. No one wants DRM. No one woke up this morning and said, “Dammit, I wish there was a way I could do less with the entertainment files I buy online.” DRM has to hide itself from you, or the first time it gets in your way, you’ll get rid of it. The proliferation of DRM means that all the commercial operating systems now have a way to run programs that the owners of computers can’t observe or control. Anything that a technologist does to weaken that sneaky, hidden facility risks DMCA 1201 prosecution – and half a decade in prison. That means that every device with DRM is designed to run programs you can’t see or kill, and no one is allowed to investigate these devices and warn you if they have defects that would allow malicious software to run in that deliberately obscured part of your computer, stealing your data and covertly operating your device’s sensors and actuators. This isn’t just about hacking your camera and microphone: remember, every computerized “appliance” is capable of running every program, which means that your car’s steering and brakes are at risk from malicious software, as are your medical implants and the smart thermostat in your home. A device that is designed for sneaky code execution and is legally off-limits to independent auditing is bad. A world of those devices – devices we put inside our bodies and put our bodies inside of – is fucking terrifying.” • Ties in neatly with biometric data, no? “We don’t know what happened. Their pacemaker just stopped.” Preferable to mass slaughter, I suppose, so modified rapture.
The Bezzle: “The Crypto Revolution Wants to Reimagine Books” [Esquire]. “What if the book series functioned like a publicly traded company where individuals could ‘buy stock’ in it, and as the franchise grows, those ‘stocks’ become more valuable? If this were the case, someone who purchased just three percent of Harry Potter back when there was only one book would be a billionaire now. Just imagine how that would affect the reading experience. Suddenly a trip to Barnes & Noble becomes an investment opportunity.” • What if I got a bucket and stuck two fingers down my throat? Commentary:
you know, for when you want to tip an author, but also the other tippers, the owner of a book n*f*t, and the company. (not to mention the whole "early tippers actually receive the tips" reeking of money laundering.) pic.twitter.com/y8Ikf1Wvli
— Margaret McDeadlines Owen (@what_eats_owls) July 24, 2022
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 36 Fear (previous close: 38 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 33 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jul 26 at 1:30 PM EDT.
“MaineHealth turned a COVID-19 grant into a permanent telehealth program” [Healthcare IT News]. “MaineHealth was awarded $803,268 from the FCC telehealth award program for telemedicine carts, laptop computers, tablets, and videoconferencing equipment and software with which providers can conduct virtual rounding for inpatients, that will enable patients to see specialty care and primary care providers from the patient’s home, and so patients in the hospitals can use tablets to see and talk with family members who they otherwise cannot see due to the significant restrictions on visiting caused by the threat of COVID–19…. Now that the virtual care framework is established, MaineHealth looks forward to continuing to build out its omni-channel offerings for patients and care teams in order to improve quality of care, improve patient experience and enhance the care team experience, she concluded.” • This is good, because so often grant money doesn’t go to infrastructure. In some ways, I feel that telemedicine writes off rural areas as undeserving of personal care, but OTOH Maine is a big, poor state. Sigh. Have any readers had telemedicine experiences?
Black Injustice Tipping Point
“Black Leadership Academy” [McKinsey & Co.] “We have a deep, long-standing commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion in business, in society, and within our firm. We believe, and our research suggests, that inclusion and diversity make a significant difference to an organization’s performance. Building on our experience developing leadership capabilities in our people and our clients, we created the Black Leadership Academy. The program is available at no cost and is designed to provide Black leaders a catalyst for growth to help them achieve their professional aspirations. This includes equipping them with the mindsets, capabilities, and most importantly, a peer network, to help in their journey.” • I’m glad McKinsey boarded the DEI train, even if a little late. (But I hate the notion of “leadership,” “young leaders” (at Davos), “leader” in headlines instead of a proper corporate or government title. I think “leadership” is MBA-speak, and actual “leadership,” whatever that means, is contingent and context-sensitive. Also, I think “leader” sounds better in the original German.
News of the Wired
Eating bugs, plus a market for used Teslas that works like this:
Furious, he demands they restore it back to the way it was, and they refuse. "We can unlock it for $4,500."
This guy bought a car, & years later Tesla reaches in remotely with no warning and literally cuts his usable range by a third!
(I confirmed story w/logs)
— Jason Hughes (@wk057) July 25, 2022
“After massive bus fire, CT pulls electric fleet from service” [CT Insider]. “One day after officials touted the passage of the Connecticut Clean Air Act, including plans for thousands of electric vehicles to hit the road, one of the state-run electric buses caught on fire over the weekend…. In addition to the electric state-run buses, public school buses will also shift to electric models, according to the governor’s statement. The Clean Air Act will also prohibit the procurement of diesel-powered buses after 2023, according to the statement.” • Impressive photo!
Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From CG:
CG writes: “Until the late summer and early fall goldenrod come along, thistle
flowers are my favorite for their ability to attract insects of all types. As I have mentioned, this year I’ve come across more fuzzy or hairy bumblebees than ever before. At first I thought they were “golden northern bumblebees,” but now I’m leaning toward the “perplexing bumblebee” (Bombus perplexus), definitely a bumblebee for our times.” Totally. At first I thought thistles were pretty, because of their purple flowers. But they were too invasive, even for me!
Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the recently concluded and — thank you! — successful annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:
Here is the screen that will appear, which I have helpfully annotated:
If you hate PayPal, you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check. Thank you!